It would be bad enough if Texas Gov. Rick Perry were taking to the airwaves in New York to attack us with lies about our taxes and business climate. It's far worse that the former (and possibly future) presidential candidate is wielding truth as his weapon. New York really does have brutal taxes and fees and regulations and bureaucracies and unions, among the worst in the nation. It creates a tough row to hoe for businesses trying to make a profit and people trying to make a life.
Perry, slated to woo firearm manufacturers and other companies in New York and Connecticut next week, has kicked off a $1-million ad campaign here touting low-tax Texas and featuring Texans "from all walks of life" praising their paradise. The ads are paid for by a public-private organization Perry controls. Perry previously visited California and Illinois and ran ads in both states touting Texas, too.
To put that in context, Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo has spent a truly Texas-sized $50 million in taxpayer money on a national ad campaign aiming to change the impression that New York is a high-tax land where it's difficult to do business. That's like Perry trying to change the perception that Texas is often sweltering.
New York is a great place, but it could be better. Our taxes and regulations reflect a devotion to providing services, caring for these least among us and protecting workers -- things Texas is not known for. But our taxes and regulations also reflect a hidebound land of 10,000 bureaucracies and governmental waste. We need to be New York, not Texas, but we could be a better New York, and defuse arguments like Perry's. As for Perry, even if he does lure businesses and individuals to the Lone Star State from these parts, it might do him more political harm than good at home: One thing you rarely hear Southerners say is, "Man, I sure am glad all y'all New Yorkers moved down here. Tell us again how you did it up North."